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Stereotypes: Good or Bad?

So, unless you haven’t been paying much attention lately, you’ve heard about this title coming out:

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I am not gonna lie – I was excited as hell when I heard about this title. A teenager and minority who becomes a superhero based on one of my current favorites? Hell yeah, I wanted to read it! And what I read about what little was released early on only made me more excited:

“Her brother is extremely conservative,” Ms. Amanat said. “Her mom is paranoid that she’s going to touch a boy and get pregnant. Her father wants her to concentrate on her studies and become a doctor.” Next to those challenges, fighting supervillains may be a respite.

– from a New York Times Article

That sounded entirely familiar to me. Coming from an Indian family myself, this is the type of beliefs and views I grew up with as a 1st generation Indian-American. Parents that don’t quite understand, that have expectations that follow cultural norms instead of what their child wants…that was all normal for me. I don’t know how many times I was told how good it would be if I became a doctor! 

And then, I broke a rule of the internet. I started reading the comments on articles like this. There was your typical mix of praise and bashing that went back and forth. That’s easy enough to ignore. But there were a specific class of comment that kept catching my eye. They were always variations on one idea: A super conservative brother, a mother terrified by boys, and a father that wants her to be a doctor. How stereotypical. 

Those comments bothered me. And they bother me more now that the first issue came out. Yes, that sort of family sounds stereotypical. The issue itself doesn’t detract from that opinion – we didn’t see a lot of them yet, so that may change, but they were pretty much what I was expecting after reading the initial description. But there was something else that I saw while I was reading. I saw my own family. A lot of the same beliefs, a lot of the same comments, even some of the same habits. It all felt so familiar to me and only made me love the issue that much more. And it hurts that people will see something that I find so relatable as something bad or wrong with the story. 

That got me thinking – what is so wrong with “stereotypical”? In the comments made about Ms. Marvel when it was first announced, it was always used as if it was a bad thing. But is that really so bad? Stereotypes may be something that writers and creators are told to avoid, but that’s usually because they have been done to a great extent before. So maybe we don’t want to see another All American Boy. I would think titles that Captain America have done enough of that already. You could even look at Peter Parker as the stereotypical geek and outsider initially (that’s obviously changed a lot since then…). You don’t think any less of either character because they started from stereotypical roots. Its certainly never seen as a detriment to the series. And, in my opinion, it’s because these were some of the first of their kind – the first portrayals of points of view that weren’t seen as often at the time. 

Kamala Khan, to me, is one of the first of her kind. It’s not common that we see any girl of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi decent that probably identifies more as American than their country of origin, and the struggles that come with being a 1st Generation American from a traditional family. It’s not a point of view that we get to see in media. I imagine its analogous to a time before Peter Parker existed, and seeing a geeky, somewhat awkward boy portrayed in media was uncommon. And then Peter Parker comes along and people flock to him – because they can see themselves in him. It was surely stereotypical. It would not have applied to every person who as more of a geek and misunderstood in school. But it was the first time anyone had tried to come close.

Kamala Khan is the same as Peter Parker to me, just to a different subset of people. To those of us that are 1st generation with parents from very different cultures, this stuff is relatable in a way that most media isn’t. And it’s the stereotypes that make it relatable – because those stereotypes is real life to us. I have been told that I needed to become a doctor. I have been warned away from boys. I have been told that I’m not “Indian” enough, and not “American” enough. I have had to live between two worlds and belong to neither. Having one little spot in my entertainment that makes me feel like I’m not entirely alone is a good feeling, stereotypes and all. 

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Triumphant (???) Return

Well Hello There Everyone! I don’t know if anyone is going to read this…seeing as it’s been a good 9 months since I last posted, but I figured I’d give it a shot! Life bogged be down rather badly in the second half of last year and I’m only just digging myself out it. To put that into comic book perspective, I’ve got over 100 in my pile to read and am just starting to try and work my way through it. But that’s not why I’m here!

I realized the other day that I was nearing the one year anniversary of me getting into comics, and this blog had been a huge part of what got me into them and what kept me into them! I missed reading people’s comments and their own blog posts and getting ideas and opinions outside of my own. So I’m back…a little older, a little better versed in comic books as a whole, but still learning as I go. 

I don’t think I’ll be following the same format as before…mostly because of the giant backlog of comics I still have to read!! But I do want to post something on here fairly regularly on whatever topic comes to mind. I’ve got at least one that I want to do in a day or so…and from there we will see. Hopefully it’ll be interesting enough for everyone!

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Random Find…

I ❤ Nerd Jokes

Decisions, Decisions…

Okay guys, so I know I’ve been saying that I needed to cut back on the different series I’ve been following, but I haven’t managed to really do so before this week – when I basically forced myself to sit down and think this all out and determine some sort of criteria for what series I stick to, and which ones I want to let go. And I thought I would walk everyone through the process of what I came up with, in case anyone is interested…

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Starting Over From The Beginning (Captain Marvel #1)

I really enjoyed Captain Marvel #9 and #10, so when I was browsing through my downtown comic store, I saw that they had Captain Marvel #1, and I instantly grabbed it. I figured I had to at least try it out!

Artwork wise, I’m not entirely sure about it! I kind of like it…but there are things that bother me as well, and i’m not quite sure I could tell you what. Every panel looks more like a painting, which is very pretty in and of itself…but I’m not sure it lends itself to storytelling quite as well. I don’t know. It just felt like something was a little off, and it might just be because it’s different an unusual compared to what I usually read. Given enough time, I might end up liking it (I almost always end up liking things that are different or quirky) but, given what I know about this series, I’m not entirely sure I’ll have enough time to get to that point!

Storywise, I enjoyed it! Its a very human story about expectations, disappointment, being a hero and meeting your own heros. It felt very human and very grounded. I can’t say that I liked it quite as much as #9, but it was enjoyable! And I would want to pick up the second issue if I can find it at some point! But it’s certainly not going to be a priority…it would just be nice.

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Digital Comics?

So I’ve been thinking about looking into Digital Comics in order to find issues of series that are really hard to find in physical form – I think it would be a good way to read older series and crossover events without having to scour the internet or pick up lots of TPBs. So I was hoping to get an opinion from any of you that read digital comics.

Where do you get your digital comics from?

I’ve been looking at buying from each individual publisher (some of the full subscriptions that give you access to lots of different series were interesting…but then you don’t actually own a copy of those comics), but then there things like ComiXology, where you can buy from all the different publishers and have everything in one place. I’m not quite sure what I want to go with, so I’m hoping to get some ideas off of all of you! If you use a specific service, or if you just have a general pro’s and con’s list, it would be helpful!

This is a really good article, if anyone is interested in reading!!

Journey Into Geekdom: Or How I Learned To Embrace My Inner Geek.

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Here’s a great article from Devin Faraci (@devincf) on badassdigest.com explaining why there is a massive lack of real female and/or minority superheroes in comics.

The article references a post from Kelly Sue DeConnick, the Marvel writer behind the current run of Captain Marvel starring former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers.

http://badassdigest.com/2013/02/26/marvel-comics-writer-explains-whos-to-blame-for-lack-of-female-superheroes/

 

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Anyone Else Watching These?

Anyone Else Watching These?

So, I know they’re advertised in like every issue from Marvel, but has anyone else actually watched these videos from the MTV show? I mean, they are most definitely giant commercials, but I enjoy getting to hear from the writers and artists of these stories! I’d love to know what you think!

Brought to you from the Crazy Internet Searches of SM…

I don’t think I’ve been quite this excited in a while!! There is apparently a totally free, online, college level course called “Gender Through Comics” that’s being offered by Ball State University starting in April. It looks like there’s going to be plenty of speakers that I am dying to hear:

Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last ManSaga), Brain Michael Bendis (New AvengersUltimate Spider-Man), Gail Simone (BatgirlSecret Six), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), Matt Fraction (The Invincible Iron ManUncanny X-Men), Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic FourAvengers), Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-MenThor: God of Thunder), Dan Slott (The Amazing Spider-ManArkham Asylum: Living Hell), Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire), and editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat (HawkeyeSpider-ManCaptain Marvel).

Anyone else interested in joining?

http://journeyintoawesome.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/mark-waid-wants-you-to-enroll-in-free-gender-through-comics-online-course/

 

Continuing With The Golden Boy (Hawkeye #2 and #3)

So, when I bought that crazy huge stack of comics, I didn’t even bother to pace myself when it came to Hawkeye. It was the best comic I had read in the first few comics I picked up, and from what SM was telling me, it only got better. So I grabbed all 6 issues that I didn’t own at the time 🙂 I wont talk about them all in a single post (can you imagine the moster post that would be?) but you will probably see a lot of repetative, totally boring comments. I’m sorry! I like this guy and this series far too much!

I’m going to do these two issues at a time. That (rather conveniently) puts the two issues about The Tape together, so it works out pretty well:

Hawkeye 2

Hawkeye #2 – The only thing this issue did was solidify exactly why I loved the series as a whole. Again, it’s beautiful storytelling with such a simple idea and plot. Lovely artwork. Can I just say that I loved the never-ending amounts of purple? Purple is my favorite color, so it just made me happy 🙂 And the little moments and little lines just made me so very happy. I think that’s something that I love when it comes to story telling. I love little moments, a single thing that happens or a single line that’s said that’s just hilarious or well placed or executed. I dont quite know how to explain it. I think it’s one of the main reasons I like Whedon’s work (he always interjects these hilarious moments and lines, even in the most serious and dire of situations), and I feel like you get a lot of that in this series as well. Just a couple of examples:

1) The newspaper title on the second page : “Everything Aweful: Oh God Somebody Do Something” – I cracked up laughing when I caught site of it.

2) Clint drinking from the coffee pot after spilling his mug of coffee 🙂

3) The half page newspaper article about the hotel, if you look at the bottom left corner, it’s actually an article about the story in this issue. There’s very little of it there, but I thought it was a nice touch!

4) Clint constantly repeating “Casual” as they’re walking through the room of guests/bad people.

5) Clint and Kate continuing their bantering as they head in two different directions to track down the thieves

6) “And that’s how we robbed the robbers who were robbing the robbers” – I love that line ❤

Another thing that I should mention is something that I was talking about in my last post with Wolverine – I usually don’t like a whole lot of exposition in the form of thoughts or voice-overs from the main character. Usually they’re overdone or they tell us things we can see for ourselves. This issue (and series as a whole) takes that exposition and just does it brilliantly. Most of the time, the thoughts we are privy to help to build or explain a character and drive (instead of detract) from the main story. Even when they do tell us things we can see, they do it to make a point (case in point, when Clint talks about all the little steps to shoot an arrow. Then we see the same little steps when Kate is taking out their pursuers…I thought that was brilliant) and it always ends up coming back later in the story. It’s always a delight to see that happen – it’s beautiful storytelling. I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy reading these issues!

I am curious to know who Kate was prior to the Marvel Now series, though. It seems like she might have been a character before this…I will have to search for that one as well 🙂 Adding this to the list below.

Hawkeye 3

 

Okay, so I don’t think there’s much I can say about Hawkeye #4 that I didn’t already say in Hawkeye #3 (like I said, the praise gets repetative….and lengthy. I feel like I’m gushing so much I’m sending a waterfall to all of you that happen to be reading!) A few things that I really want to mention:

1) I loved the numbering of all the bad decision he made that day. Not only was it a great source of comedy, it also acted kind of like a countdown to drive you toward the end. You always wanted to see just what the next bad decision was, and how much worse could it be than the last one. It was a great way to push the story forward.

2) The boomerang arrow – that was a wonderful example of an innocuous-seeming comment being the key to the ending. Beautiful.

Okay, I’m done. No more gushing, because it’s already been said 🙂

 

Plots to Find in Older Comics:

  • Who is this new Nick Fury? – Medium Priority. If he’s going to be a major character in Secret Avengers, I kind of want to know who he is…
  • Previous Team for Hawkeye and Black Widow – Medium Priority. I think it might be the last series of Secret Avengers, and I wonder if something that happened there will be the reason they joined here.
  • Incident where Kate took over for Hawkeye while he was a ninja – Low Priority. It would be fun to know, but certainly not necessary!
  • Shield Command Structure – Low Priority. We probably don’t need this for most of the stories, but it would be nice to know.
  • Who Else was in the Sinister Six? – Low Priority. Mentioned in Spiderman #1 and #3, but not necessary to know. Like always, just curious.
  • War Against Phoenix Force – Low Priority. This was mentioned in Hulk #1, but not integral. Just curious.
  • Hawkeye’s Past – Low Priority. This is totally out of my own curiosity. You don’t need to know this to understand what’s going in in Hawkeye. It’s mentioned briefly, but it’s really not expanded on much.
  • Tony’s first experience with Extremis – Low Priority. It’s not something that it that integral to the plot, so it’s more of a curiosity than anything else
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